Things you need to know
- Multiple pregnancies or multiple births happen when an expecting woman is carrying more than one baby.
- Your dietary and nutritional needs during multiple pregnancies are greater than that of a single pregnancy.
- It is important to understand your risks of a multiple pregnancy to have safe and healthy newborns.
What are multiple births?
A multiple pregnancy or multiple birth is the one in which a pregnant woman carries more than one baby at a single time. There are following type of multiple births:
- Twins for 2 foetuses
- Triplets for 3 foetuses
- Quadruplets for 4 foetuses
- Quintuplets for 5 foetuses
- Sextuplets for 6 foetuses
Multiple pregnancies happen primarily as a result of the following two factors:
- When a fertilised egg splits into two resulting in two embryos before it implants in the uterine lining. This pregnancy is known as identical twinning.
- When two or more eggs are fertilised by different sperms. This type of multiple pregnancy is known as fraternal twinning.
What causes multiple pregnancies?
Multiple births can happen in any pregnant woman. However, some factors increase your chances of having multiple babies. Common factors that may result in multiple pregnancies:
- Being of advanced age (more than 30 years)
- Being a twin or having a twin in your family
- Taking ART treatment
- Taking ovulation stimulation drugs
What are the signs of a multiple pregnancy?
Primarily, an ultrasound exam is needed to know whether or not you have a multiple pregnancy. If you are carrying more than one foetus, you can expect to have double the symptoms. Here are the common signs and symptoms of a multiple pregnancy:
- Severe nausea and vomiting
- Rapid weight gain in the 1st trimester of pregnancy
- Extremely sore and tender breasts
- High HCG levels
- High amounts of the protein (alpha-fetoprotein) in your blood
Complications of a multiple pregnancy
Multiple pregnancies or multiple births require more safety and precaution than a single pregnancy. The risks and complications of a multiple pregnancy are relatively more and include:
- Premature labour and birth
- Gestational diabetes
- Placenta abruption
- Foetal growth restriction